I read a lot of books. In January and February I read nine books. I really only read non-fiction and I read them fast. I was having a conversation with a friend about how fast I read books. She asked a great question, “Do you retain it all?” I quickly answered, “Of course . . . the things I need to.” By that I mean I don’t get caught up in all of the details. I’m writing my own story and I take from these books what I need to help me live on MY mission.
I finished a book on Sunday (if you’re counting that’s 10 but it didn’t count for February) about prayer titled Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers. I hope you’ll read it for yourself but while I was reading I kept thinking about how unique each person is to the kingdom and then the thought struck me, “I have to see for myself.” If we are each unique in God’s kingdom then we see things differently, we experience life differently and each of our stories is different. It’s how two people can read the same passage or hear the same sermon and get something completely different out it. I don’t want to settle for someone else’s story. I love reading. I love reading fast because it keeps me from trying to live someone else’s life.
I wanted to encourage you and share some thoughts to help you live in the freedom of being you.
Don’t settle for someone else’s story. I came across a great quote from Jeff Shinabarger, “Your identity is not a trend; it is an essential element in all of our lives.” Trying to live someone else’s story robs the world of all the great gifts only you have to offer. My church has a saying, “We eat the fish and leave the bones,” and I’d like to think this principle applies here. Learn what you need from people (or books) but use it to improve your life. Don’t try to live their story. It will only leave you feeling defeated and not good enough.
Go and see for yourself. You can’t live your own story if you don’t go and experience it. I’ve read many of stories about people who have packed up and left behind their comfort and security. I don’t recommend this option for everyone (well or maybe I do) it was something I knew God called me to do. Through that experience I learned so much about God’s faithfulness, the freedom found only in Jesus and a hope for my future. Had I not experienced it for myself I don’t believe I would have such a deep gratitude for where God brought me from a little less than two years ago. And that leads me to my last point.
Build your own relationship with God. Don’t ride the coat tails of your friend’s relationship and don’t just accept what your parents told you about God (and church) growing up. God speaks to each person differently and has a special purpose for everyone. I settled for far too long accepting what people told me about Jesus, how I should live and who I should be. It wasn’t until I started asking God these questions that I began to build my own relationship with Him and ultimately brought me to a place of peace with the person He is making me into.
It’s not always easy living your own mission. I have days when I want to throw in the towel and just conform (be what other people want me to be). I came across this quote yesterday from Shane Claiborne, “The journey to God is not like a trip to St. Louis,” and I’d like to think the same is true for learning to live your own mission – it isn’t a destination. It’s a life-long journey. I hope you’ll start living your own story today. It’s going to be great. I know it.